Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 14)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 14)”

Evan Ren’s Thanksgiving week playoff picks

LAST WEEK: 23-2, .920
SEASON TOTAL: 422-88, .827

Turkey Day has arrived and we’ve still got 10 Big Country football teams showing a pulse.

Of those, there are at least six that I believe have a shot at getting to Arlington and of those, perhaps four that have a good shot at bringing home a state title.

So let’s dive in and take a look at this week’s matchups, shall we?  

Be safe going to your games! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Cisco’s Kevin Stennett joins the show talks about CHS’ upcoming regional semifinal with Hawley

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 11: Cisco coach Kevin Stennett joins the show and to talk about his experience at CHS and this week’s regional semifinal clash with Hawley.  Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood examine this week’s regional semifinal pairings.

Top games of this week discussed: All playoff pairings involving Big Country teams from Class 1A-4A this week are mentioned. 

Top games of last week discussed: Sweetwater vs. Celina, Hawley vs. Sundown, Albany vs. Ralls, Wall vs. Bushland, Brock vs. Denver City, Jim Ned vs. Dalhart, San Saba vs. Panhandle.

 

 

 

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie boys can’t keep up with No. 7 Amarillo High

AMARILLO — The seventh-ranked Amarillo High Sandies proved too strong for the Wylie boys basketball team on Tuesday, outscoring the Bulldogs in all four quarters of a 75-48 win.

AHS (4-0) raced out to a 23-12 lead after a quarter and increased its advantage to 20 points by halftime (39-19), before cruising in the second half to the victory.

Wylie, which fell to 0-2 with the loss, was paced offensively by Dylan Jennings’ 24 points. Colby Tanner also reached double figures with 11 points, while Avery Brekke finished with seven.

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GAME RECAP: Cooper volleyball sweeps Horizon to earn third-round match with Randall

MONAHANS — Fresh off their first playoff win in 18 years, the Cooper volleyball team is on a roll.

The Lady Cougars followed a four-set bi-district win over Amarillo Tascosa on Friday with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 sweep of El Paso Horizon in the area round on Tuesday to earn a third-round match against state power Canyon Randall later this week.

It was the fourth win in a row for Cooper, which will take a 14-9 record into its match with the Lady Raiders, who edged Wylie 19-25, 25-19 25-19, 18-25, 17-15 in their playoff opener last week.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cisco’s Long takes this week’s award

Cisco quarterback Hunter Long is only a sophomore. And he made his share of sophomore mistakes against an early-season schedule that featured 3A DI powerhouses from Wall and Jim Ned. 

Maturity, however, is beginning to catch up with the CHS signal caller, who has gradually developed into one of the top Class 2A weapons in the Big Country. 

His latest effort typified his development — passing for 210 yards and rushing for 101 in a 46-15 area round rout of Olton. 

Along the way, Long accounted for five Cisco touchdowns, rushing for three and passing for two more to help push the Loboes into the regional semifinals. 

It also earned him our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award for the week ending Nov. 21.

“Hunter played a great game,” Cisco coach Kevin Stennett said. “He is getting better every week and his execution of our offense has been outstanding during the playoffs. He made very few mistakes, if any, against Olton and has really emerged as the leader of our offense.”

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GAME RECAP: Fourth-quarter rally comes up short as Wylie falls to Lubbock Cooper

Photos courtesy of HubCityPreps.com

LUBBOCK — A slow offensive start proved too much for the Wylie football team to overcome Friday in a 21-15 loss to Lubbock Cooper.

Trailing 14-2 at halftime and 21-2 four seconds into the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs tried to rally over the final 11:56. But a couple of short touchdown passes by Balin Valentine were all WHS could muster in dropping its second consecutive game.

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GAME RECAP: Abilene High clinches playoff berth with overwhelming defensive effort at OHS

Photos by Eli Hartman, Odessa American

ODESSA — The Abilene High football team punched its ticket to the playoffs Friday, locking up its first postseason berth since 2016 with a 29-7 win over Odessa High at Ratliffe Stadium.

The Eagles overcame a slow start offensively with a dominating defensive effort, holding the Bronchos to just 130 yards of total offense, including 22 yards rushing on 22 attempts, to improve to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in District 2-6A play.

Leading 9-0 at halftime, AHS tacked on two touchdowns in the third quarter and another in the fourth to go up 29-0 before OHS finally got on the board with just under five minutes remaining in the game.

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GAME STORY: Celina pulls away from Sweetwater for area-round win

STEPHENVILLE — The Sweetwater Mustangs had seven false starts in the first quarter and fell in an early 9-0 hole to Celina in a Region I-4A Division II area round matchup at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

Despite getting a 93-yard touchdown pass from Leo Holsey to Darian Carr on the first play of the second quarter, the early deficit was too much to overcome in a 37-22 loss.

Sweetwater finishes its season at 8-2.

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LOCAL VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: Cooper wins first playoff match since 2002, Wylie falls in five

The Cooper volleyball team claimed its first playoff victory in almost two decades Friday, topping Amarillo Tascosa 25-13, 25-23, 17-25, 25-23 to advance to the area round, where the Lady Cougars will take on the winner of El Paso Horizon and El Paso Jefferson at a time and site to be determined.

The victory, Cooper’s first in a playoff match since 2002, improved the Lady Coogs to 13-9 on the year and sends coach Nora Campbell’s team into the area round on a three-match winning streak.

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GAME STORY: Hawley uses speed, key mistakes to eliminate Sundown

BIG SPRING — A few early bursts of speed and a few late mistakes made all the difference in a 34-20  win for Hawley over Sundown in Friday’s Region I-2A Division I area round game at Memorial Stadium.

Rodey Hooper threw for 174 yards and a score and added three rushing touchdowns to lead Hawley (10-2), which advances to face Cisco  (9-3) in the regional semifinals. 

“We told our kids that we felt like we’d be the fastest team on the field tonight,” Hawley coach Mitch Ables said. “We’re young, but we’re fast and we were able to take advantage of our speed tonight.” 

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Class 4A Area Round Report: Springtown too much for Big Spring in shutout

REGION I-4A DIV. I 

Springtown 56, Big Spring 0 — The Porcupines were too much for the Steers on Friday, using a 483-237 yardage gap and 6-1 advantage in the turnover margin to score a shutout victory.

Big Spring quarterback Gabriel Baeza passed for 182 yards and rushed for a team-high 46 yards, but he was hurt by four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Springtown, which led 35-0 by halftime, was paced by quarterback Camden Chesney, who threw four touchdown passes, and Dakota Strahan, who rushed for two scores and added a pick-six on defense. 

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Class 3A Area Round Report: Jim Ned rolls through Dalhart, earns shot at Brock

REGION I-3A DIV. I 

Jim Ned 31, Dalhart 14 — Xavier Wishert had a game-high 131 yards rushing and two scores on 25 carries to lead lead Jim Ned to its first regional semifinal in 16 years.

The Indians built a 24-0 halftime lead before holding on for the win. Tate Yardley led Jim Ned through the air with 200 yards on 13-of-16 passing. 

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FEATURE: Eagles focused on process as they close in on first playoff berth since 2016

Coming off a big 42-7 win over Wolfforth Frenship last week at Shotwell Stadium, the Abilene High football team finds itself just one victory away from clinching its first playoff berth since 2016.

And with games remaining against Odessa High (0-5 overall, 0-4 in district) this week and Midland High (1-6, 1-3) next week, the Eagles’ path to the postseason takes them through a pair of teams they’ll be favored on paper to beat.

But AHS coach Mike Fullen isn’t looking at things that way, and he doesn’t want his team to either. As far as he’s concerned, the playoffs started for his Eagles last week, and the goal from now on is to finish each week 1-0.

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GAME STORY: Offensive line paves way for Garcia, Spotwood’s record night

Records are made to be broken and on Thursday night, several records were either tied or broken at Shotwell Stadium.

From running Noah Garcia breaking the Abilene ISD career rushing record to wide receiver Bryan Spotwood tying Cooper’s single game record for receiving touchdown with four in the first half alone, the Cougars offense went wide open in an expected shootout for the District 3-5A Division I lead against Azle.

The duo’s five first-half scores allowed Cooper to take a 35-21 lead into halftime, and the Cougars held on from there beat the Hornets 66-55 in a banger.

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GAME STORY: Albany eliminates Ralls 56-22 to advance to regional semis

SNYDER — Heading into Thursday’s Region II-2A Division II area round game with Ralls, the last thing Albany coach Denney Faith wanted was to play from behind against RHS’ clock-killing slot-T offense. 

Getting early defensive stops, therefore, would be crucial for the Lions. 

Albany did precisely that, grabbing an early lead, taking Ralls out of its normal game and winning by a lopsided 56-22 margin at Tiger Stadium. 

Coy Lefevre rushed for 89 yards, while adding 60 yards receiving, two interceptions and accounting for two scores to lead Albany (10-1), which advances to face either Windthorst or Archer City in the regional semifinals next week. 

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Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 13)

Each week here at Big Country Preps, we’ll post our picks for all of that week’s 11-man games, in addition to the results of Evan Ren’s Twitter polls for each matchup.

For those interested in voting, polls go up on Monday night each week and close Thursday morning.

Disagree with our picks or the Twitter consensus? Let us know in the comments section below.

Continue reading “Big Country Preps’ Pick ‘Em Panel (Week 13)”

Evan Ren’s area-round playoff forecast

LAST WEEK: 32-5, .864
SEASON TOTAL: 399-86, .823

We’ve reached that point in the season when there is no such thing as a pushover.  Wins are tough to come by and so are accurate picks.

It’s also that time of year when you almost hope you’re wrong. Because if I’m correct in this week’s picks, our field of 15 remaining 11-man area football teams will be chopped to six by week’s end and only four of our eight remaining six-man teams will see the field again.

This column hit at 86 percent accuracy a week ago … so here’s to a late-season slump and plenty of Thanksgiving football.

Let’s dive in. Here are this week’s area picks.

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FEATURE: Cooper set for huge district showdown with Azle

When new districts were announced in February, and Cooper was sent east to a Fort Worth-area league, it was assumed by many that the Cougars’ date with Azle would go a long way toward deciding the District 3-5A Division I title.

Nine months later, that’s proven to be the case.

When the Coogs (5-1 overall, 4-0 in district) face off with the Hornets (5-1, 3-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Shotwell Stadium, in a rematch of an area-round playoff thriller from last season, it will indeed determine the leader in the clubhouse for the 3-5A DI championship. 

And while Cooper coach Aaron Roan tries to treat every district game with equal weight, even he has to admit there’s a big-game feel to this week’s matchup.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Posts

After highlighting the Big Country’s top guards and forwards the past two nights, we now take a look at the area’s best big men.

For the final installment in our three-part boys basketball position rankings series, we rank the Big Country’s top 10 post players.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our rankings, and make sure to check back for all our boys and girls basketball coverage this season.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT WEDNESDAY NIGHT PODCAST: Dublin’s Bob Cervetto bids farewell

VIDEO PODCAST NO. 11: Dublin coach Bob Cervetto joins the show and bids farewell after retirement announcement. Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood examine this week’s area playoff pairings. 

Top games of this week discussed: All playoff pairings involving Big Country teams from Class 2A-4A this week are mentioned. 

Top games of last week discussed: Wall vs. Boyd. Cisco vs. Stamford. Forsan vs. San Saba. Big Spring vs. El Paso Riverside. Jim Ned vs. Paradise. Canyon Randall vs. Wylie. Abilene vs. Frenship. Abilene Cooper vs. Saginaw.

GAME STORY: Albany’s dream season finally ends with loss to Crawford in 2A state semifinals

By Seth LaRue (special to Big Country Preps)

WEATHERFORD — Few playoff teams are allowed to enjoy happy endings and the Albany volleyball team wasn’t one of the exceptions in 2020.

Facing reigning Class 2A state champion Crawford in a  state semifinal matchup, the Lady Lions fell in straight sets 14-25, 11-25, and 14-25. 

“It was a great season, (The Lady Lions) haven’t been this far since 2008. We were going to feel sad whatever round we lost at and we are thankful that we made it to the state semifinals.” Albany coach MJ Reneau said at the conclusion of their game at Weatherford High School. 

The Lions were forced into an early hole in the first set by an aggressive Crawford team led by Junior Katie Warden. Down 6-12, the Pirates went on a 13-8 run to secure their advantage and eventually, the set.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season upon us, it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of the players we’ll be writing and you’ll be reading about throughout the 2020-21 season.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all positions on the area boys basketball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the Big Country’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Albany’s Cotter takes award with two dominating efforts

One dominating performance deserves another. 

Having already helped Albany reach the Region I-2A finals with a 17-kill performance in a win over Plains (22-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-16) last week, Sarah Beth Cotter wasn’t finished. 

With AHS facing perennial power Wink in the regional finals Saturday in Big Spring, she helped the Lady Lions reach the state semis with 16 kills, two blocks, four digs and an ace in a stunning 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the Lady Cats. 

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GAME STORY: Albany eliminates Wink in three straight games to capture Region I title

BIG SPRING — Prior to Saturday’s Region I-2A championship match with Wink, Albany volleyball coach M.J. Reneau knew her team had an advantage up front over WHS. The key to winning would be in consistently getting an attack set up, without letting postseason nerves lead to too many mistakes. 

Mission accomplished. 

The Lady Lions held their unforced errors in check, dominated the net and swept Wink in three games, 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 at Big Spring High School. 

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